Isobel suggests to Branson that he run for local council. He then takes her into Thirsk – where he sees Rose dining in a restaurant with Ross, and also runs into the woman from last time, and when I tell you her name is "Sarah Bunting" I wonder how many of you will find that hilarious. Branson later finds Ms. Bunting on the road with car trouble, and as he fixes the problem they get to know each other a little better.
Branson tells Mary about Rose and Ross, hilariously running out of the room before he even finishes the sentence, so Mary has a private word with Rose, who declares that she intends to marry Ross and rub the news in her mother's face. When Rose later tells Mary she's actually engaged, Mary drops everything to head to London to see Ross – but he tells her he has no plans to go through with the wedding, as he doesn't want to spoil Rose's life. Rose is bitter at Mary when she gets the letter breaking it off, and Mary's basically like, you'll get over it but if you don't who cares.
Mary's godfather "Lord Merton" is coming round to the Dowager Countess's, and with no one else to throw at him for entertainment purposes she asks Isobel and Edith to join. He takes a shine to Isobel, and as he's a widow, they have something of a bond – although his was an unhappy marriage. Next thing you know the Dowager Countess is calling Isobel over to give her a floral arrangement sent from Merton to her, and if the Dowager Countess was down on Isobel last episode she certainly is now enjoying her role as a potential matchmaker to some degree.
Alfred's father has passed on, and he's coming to Yorkshire for the funeral – and he also proposes marriage to Ivy like I CAN'T EVEN. Ivy tells Mrs. Patmore that he even wants her to come to London and can find her a job, but she doesn't want to marry him, thank God. Even though she's turning him down, Alfred plans to drop by the Abbey, so on Mrs. Patmore's advice Daisy avoids him by going to see Mr. Mason, her kindly old father-in-law who wanted her to take over his farm like everyone hoped she would. Alfred and Ivy meet and agree to part as friends, while Mason advises Daisy to see Alfred despite Mrs. Patmore's suggestion she stay away. Daisy returns in time to catch him and give him a warm goodbye – but just as he tells her he may have been blind, she informs him she's over him, although they too agree to be friends. Mrs. Patmore then tells her she couldn't be prouder of her than if she were her own daughter, and this subplot has been like pulling teeth but I can't say I didn't love that moment.
Edith plans to tell Cora her situation, and true to her word, Rosamund comes to Downton to support her. When Rosamund shows up, though, Edith floats the idea to keep the baby by leaving it with Drewe (now the pig-man as well as a tenant farmer), whom she thinks can be trusted, but Rosamund finds that plan far too reckless and suggests the two of them go away on an extended trip out of the country, at the end of which they'll give the baby up for adoption. Rosamund gets Cora to agree to the journey, and Edith is at least relieved this means she won't have to tell Cora. The Dowager Countess, however, smells a rat and calls her daughter and granddaughter over and asks for the truth, and as she seems to have made up her mind in the right direction Edith comes clean. The Dowager Countess comes down on Rosamund's side as far as the plan goes, even offering to foot the bill for the trip, which is pretty good of her considering I'm not at all sure Rosamund could really afford it.
There's a village/church bazaar coming up, and with Lord Grantham still in America, Cora's fairly frantic, but with help from Rose, Rosamund, Edith, and Branson, she pulls it together. Everyone's bright spirits are made more so by the sudden return of Lord Grantham, who reports Harold got a reprimand and nothing more. Well, at least Hugh Bonneville got a light schedule out of it.
Lord Gillingham once again stays at Downton, this time on his way home from Scotland, and sick with worry that Bates is going to figure Green out for sure, Anna finally reveals the entire truth to Mary. Mary tries to call Lord Gillingham to tell him not to come, but she misses him, and soon he's at Downton spewing jealousy in Blake's direction. Bates pointedly determines where Lord Gillingham's residence is before Lord Gillingham ends up giving Napier and Blake a ride back to London – but not before he tells Mary he's calling off his engagement to Mabel. She cautions him that she won't be on the market even if he goes through with it, but he's undeterred. Later, Mary tells Anna she's going to meet with Lord Gillingham and ask him to dismiss Green, and although she won't give him any more than vague hints as to why, he agrees. He also tells her he's gone through with breaking his engagement and that he won't give up, which for entirely selfish reasons I hope is true.
At the bazaar, a shaken Lord Gillingham shows up with the news that Green is dead of an apparent accident; it seems he slipped on a crowded pavement and was hit by a vehicle. Mary is just as freaked, relays the news to Anna, and they both obviously wonder if Bates could have been involved but don't verbalize as much. Anna then asks Bates where he was, and he puts her off; I can only hope she personally kills him rather than let him go to prison again because WE'VE DONE THAT AND IT'S DEATH.
Baxter and Molesley strike up an uncertain friendship; Baxter thinks he's lucky to have grown up in a village where people like and respect him and his family, and Molesley's like, boy did I never think of it that way. When Thomas returns from America, he asks for a report from Baxter, but Molesley intervenes on her behalf, and Thomas looks less put out and more intrigued by the realization that Baxter herself is news.
Blake returns for the bazaar on his way home from some other made-up work and officially throws his hat into the suitor ring, ignoring Mary's warnings that his chances are slim to none, and the episode ends with literally everyone who matters raising an eyebrow in Mary, Blake, and Lord Gillingham's general direction. See, kitchen staff, the show still can do a love triangle worth caring about!
Oh, and finally, Martha wants to bring Harold over next summer for Rose's coming out, so I'm pretty sure we can look forward to Shirley MacLaine returning for the Christmas special. Can anyone think about anything else?
With Edith tagging along, Mary and Branson are coming to see Drewe. After last episode's near-fiasco with the pigs -- who are currently running around them every which way -- he's taken on the role of Acting Pig-Man. After they greet Drewe and hear a bit about his qualifications for Edith's benefit, Branson and Mary exchange a look before the former offers to make the position permanent. Drewe's like, "Well, managing my own farm in addition to the pigs will be a lot of work, but not too much for someone of my hearty stock." Mary suggests they at least check it out, and Drewe's grateful for yet another bit of consideration he's getting from the Crawley family before saying he hopes to pay the favor back one day, and Edith's like, "OH YOU DON'T SAY." Edith, what if the pigs steal your child and raise him or her as their own? It has happened!
The Dowager Countess is reading in her sitting room when Isobel knocks and enters with an "It's only me," to which the Dowager Countess replies, "I always feel that greeting betrays such a lack of self-worth." Perhaps a bit much for an opening line, but: (a) she has a point, and (b) although she's on the mend, she's still not recovered. Hearing about the Dowager Countess's stir-craziness, Isobel suggests they walk to the Abbey that afternoon so they can hear all about Lord Grantham's adventures in America. When she goes on about the Teapot Dome Scandal, the Dowager Countess proves herself more up on current events in America than I would have guessed by stating, "What is it always about? Bribery and corruption. Taking money to allow private companies to drill for oil on government land." Isobel asks if Harold has one of the companies in question, to which the answer is "probably," and when Isobel asks if the Dowager Countess has ever met him, she tells her she did once, at her son's wedding to Cora. "And once was quite enough," she says. But given that none of us actually witnessed that, milady, surely you wouldn't begrudge us an encore?
Rose is on the phone making plans for "such a lovely day" in the future. She then gets off when Cora appears and tells her she's going to have to help out with "the bazaar," which she adds just sneaked up on her. Rose, looking a bit terrified, asks if Lord Grantham doesn't usually do it, and Cora's like, well exactly. "Half the village hates the other half and he's the only one who can stop them tearing each other's throats out." Well, Rose, welcome to the dark side of being "in charge of fun."